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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

COVID-19 has killed 3,000 Montanans

 Montana COVID-19 dashboard, January 31, 2022.
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
Montana COVID-19 dashboard, January 31, 2022.

COVID-19 has killed 3,000 Montanans. The state reached the grim milestone Monday.

In a statement sent to MTPR, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services said that while it’s still working through death certificates from 2021, officials are confident COVID-19 will be the third leading cause of death like it was in 2020.

According to state data, nearly 1,700 people died from COVID in 2021, though that number could shift as state health officials continue to reconcile the data. This past October was the single deadliest month of the pandemic. That was the peak of the surge brought on by the Delta variant.

The state is now nearing its record for the number of active COVID-19 cases due to the emergence of the highly-infectious omicron variant. Hospitalizations have hovered around the low 300s the past week. That number could continue to rise if case numbers keep growing.

Montana’s omicron surge is lagging behind the rest of the country. It’s unclear how high the death toll from omicron could get in Montana as deaths typically follow a spike in hospitalizations.

Aaron Bolton is Montana Public Radio's Flathead Valley reporter.